1. says

    I got to thinking that the paper look might mean something cellulose-like (chitin), chigau, so I looked it up, and sure enough, chitin’s one component of its exterior.*

    Thin chitin should be papery, I’d think.

    I like the origami ones, too.

    Glen Davidson

    *Most sources I saw said so. A few claimed otherwise.

  2. Happiestsadist, opener of the Crack of Doom says

    I think water bears are absolutely adorable! They’re all rounded and they have cute little feet.

  3. hiroshimaeric says

    Hi everybody,

    There’s a guy on the Science Forum at the Amazon web site who claims that the theory of evolution by natural selection is no longer a falsifiable proposition. He says it has been proven to the point that no possible falsification is conceivable.

    To me, this seems contrary to what I know about science. Popper, (I’ve read some philosophy of science, but it’s not my specialty.)

    I know that for all practical purposes the jury is in, and we are as confident about this field as we are about anything in science. But is this writer correct? Is the theory beyond falsifiability even in principle?

    Here is his argument:

    “Almost all scientific theories are universal statements, such as Newtonian mechanics (true at moderate speeds) and relativistic mechanics (true at all speeds), which are not provably true even though there are piles of evidence which show that they are correct. But the theory of evolution consists of existential statements only, which are provable by demonstration (and have been):
    – Heritable mutations occur.
    – Some mutations are more beneficial to survival than the un-mutated parents.
    Thus the ToE is provably correct, and of course also demonstrably correct as well.”

    The page is here:

    I’m curious what real scientists make of this. Thanks.

    –Hiroshima Eric

  4. PatrickG says

    As my partner and I were heading to bed, I showed this to her. Her response?

    “Thank you for killing any residual sexual urge. And fuck you for the nightmares.”

    And off to bed we go. :)

  5. says

    As my partner and I were heading to bed, I showed this to her. Her response?

    “Thank you for killing any residual sexual urge. And fuck you for the nightmares.”

    And off to bed we go. :)

    Tell her how cool they are, how they can dessicate and revive, survive extreme (relative to other life, anyhow) radiation, and tolerate extremes of temperatures.

    No, wait, that seems unlikely to really help.

    Glen Davidson

  6. unclefrogy says

    those things are remarkable in every way.
    what blows my mind is the very wide range of environment they can survive in, that is pretty assume heat temperatures that would render any other animal cooked to over done, cold to make no sense and pressure and the vacuum of space just wow. How or why did they ever evolve to acquire such traits?

    uncle frogy

  7. unclefrogy says

    spell check sucks as well as my ability to proof read
    awesome instead of assume
    uncle frogy.

  8. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    It looks like a model, so I followed the link aaaand… nope, it’s real. It’s a color-enhanced electron microscope photo. That thing is only half a millimeter long!

    Cool :)

    The green stuff is moss, if anyone’s interested.

  9. says


    I’ve got one! My sister gave it to me last Christmas. It’s awesome. It’s not 100% accurate, in that it has the same eyes that a teddy-bear has. But that does make it cuter.

  10. says

    True story: Right after molting, female waterbear lay their eggs inside the shedded skin, then the male comes along and mates with it, fertilizing the eggs. You can say they invented the blow-up doll.

  11. crocodoc says

    Some comments made me curious so I looked up tardigrades at wikipedia:

    Tardigrades can withstand temperatures from just above absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, pressures about 6 times stronger than pressures found in the deepest ocean trenches, ionizing radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than would kill a person, and the vacuum of outer space. They can go without food or water for nearly 120 years, drying out to the point where they are 3% or less water, only to rehydrate, forage, and reproduce.


  12. bbgunn says

    That looks like my 2nd grade papier-mâché project, my pet dog, Roscoe. The art teacher asked why my dog had six legs. I explained to her that one of the six appendages was his tail and the other one was (in the vernacular of my youth) his “pee pee.” Needless to say, in the early ’60s, that bit of information didn’t go over too well with Sister Mary Daniel.

  13. davidnangle says

    Wait a minute… if it’s a scanning electron micrograph, and the little beasty can survive vacuum, cold almost down to absolute zero, and high doses of radiation…

    Is this a snapshot of a living one? Did it just walk away during the photo shoot? When you scan one and record the stage location, does the next viewing require a circular search pattern to find it again?

  14. grignon says

    With insight gleaned from my children, I’d say it looks like a Pokemon.

    “Water Bear, I choose YOU!!!”

  15. iiandyiiii says

    Very cool looking animal. What’s the deal with the mouth? It looks like part of a socket wrench set.

  16. ChasCPeterson says

    How or why did they ever evolve to acquire such traits?

    They evolved to occupy seasonally desiccated environments (mosses, mostly). The ability to dry up and rehydrate later just happens to confer resistance to all those other environmental stressors.


    pffft. Color faked added later.

    Are they in a phyla of their own?

    The singular is ‘phylum’. Yes, Tardigrada.

  17. David Marjanović says

    I found the gallery! Don’t click – the pictures change every 20 seconds. :-)

    cold to make no sense

    Once they’re dry, you can boil them in helium (it’s been done), heat them up again, rehydrate them, and they just walk away.

    True story:

    Ends up looking like this.

    It does not look segmented.

    Segmentation isn’t a property of organisms, it’s a property of organ systems. Tardigrada and Arthropoda are each other’s closest living relatives.

    What’s the deal with the mouth?

    That’s actually pretty normal in Ecdysozoa. The arthropods have mostly lost it.

    Pharyngula: The Movie ™

    “Leider ist dieses Video, das Musik von SME beinhaltet, in Deutschland nicht verfügbar, da die GEMA die Verlagsrechte hieran nicht eingeräumt hat.”

    Overbearing copyright collection agency has, with German thoroughness, not conceded publisher’s rights, so the video isn’t available in Germany.

    This happens a lot.

    Just cut the music out (no sound here in the museum anyway) and upload it again. :-)

  18. Chie Satonaka says

    I’d never heard of these before. Sent the photo scare the shit out of all of my co-workers, who are busy googling water bears and finding more pictures now. LOL.

  19. David Marjanović says

    Try this link: Skydrive.

    Not bad… not bad at all. Will have to watch it with sound later. :-)

  20. David Marjanović says

    No, I’m talking about the music that allegedly fits so well. See above.